When your wanderlust is good but your carbon footprint is bad, you can give your conscience a good scrub with just a little advance attention to where you’re staying and how your accommodations might green up your stay.
Responsible tourism has become important to many travelers, and operators and accommodations are responding. To help you plan an ethical trip, here are five New York City hotels that get responsible tourism right.
Part of the boutique Kimpton Hotels collection, Ink48 is a stylish Hell’s Kitchen property featuring modern rooms, a full-service spa, fitness room, restaurant, rooftop bar and free nightly wine reception for socializing and imbibing on a budget.
They’re also eco-friendly, with technologies that turn off lights when guests leave, keep the room at a low-use 72 degrees, housekeeping call buttons to eliminate paper door hangers and a Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants EarthCare Program. Through this initiative, the property provides eco-amenities like in-room recycling bins, organic and Fair Trade coffee and tea, ceramic mugs that reduce paper cup waste, a program that donates unused and partially-used bath products and more. Ink48 also works with Hartley House, a nonprofit providing social, educational and recreational services to the Hell’s Kitchen community through fundraising and joint programming.
Element Times Square
2. Element Times Square
Not only does the LEED-certified Element Times Square recycle, but the carpets and furniture are crafted from reclaimed materials, while recycled rubber tires act as wall mounts for art. Being eco-conscious is a main focus, and this property features low-flow fluorescent light bulbs, a design that maximizes sunlight, efficient water fixtures, low off-gassing paints, healthy and organic cuisine, ENERGY STAR qualified kitchen appliances, electric vehicle charging stations and dispensers for bath products instead of individual plastic ones.
New York Hilton Midtown
3. New York Hilton Midtown
Open since 1963, the New York Hilton Midtown is one of NYC’s largest hotels, boasting a central location near Times Square and all the amenities of a world class hotel. They’re also forwarding thinking in their ethical initiatives, awarded the title of NYC’s Most Sustainable Hotel by the Hotel Association of New York City in 2014.
Some of their initiatives include an extensive recycling program, organic and biodynamic wine offerings, natural gas heating and use of fuel cell technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. They also work with local nonprofit and public-private organizations like City Harvest, Food Bank of New York, Operation Prom and St. Thomas’s soup kitchen, and partnering with local businesses like Pat La Frieda, Bantam Bagels and Murray’s Cheese. One of their largest projects is a 16,000 sq-ft. green roof growing plants and supporting local farmers, while also deflecting solar radiation and absorbing pollutants that would otherwise go into the atmosphere.
Archer Hotel New York
4. Archer Hotel New York
Archer Hotel New York is a boutique hotel that opened in the Garment District in May 2014. Through all phases of its development, the property has kept responsible travel in mind. During the design phase, designers chose recycled wood from a 1770s-era John Watson Revolution Barn in Connecticut as the main building material, a tinted glaze on the exterior to maximize natural heating and cooling, and an onsite heat and power system that reduces the need for electricity to heat water.
When the hotel was being constructed, 85 percent of nonhazardous building waste was recycled, efficient water fixtures were installed to reduce usage 36 percent below NYC’s water allowance and motion sensors were put in to ensure heating/cooling systems turn off when guests leave the room. Also feel good about your stay with ongoing initiatives, like an extensive recycling program, discount parking for energy efficient vehicles and comfortable, green bedding in rooms. Guests curious about Archer New York’s responsible practices can also request a free eco-informational tour during their stay.
YOTEL New York
5. YOTEL New York
This futuristic hotel — with its robot porter, touch-screen check-in and cabins (guest rooms) modeled after sleek First Class airlines — not only transports you into 2062, it does so responsibly. YOTEL New York holds LEED Gold certification, using organic mattresses, LED lighting, water flow monitoring systems, room sensors that turn off lights and heating/cooling when unoccupied, recycled rainwater for irrigating their terrace and Renewable Energy Certificates to purchase wind energy (equal to 10 percent of YOTEL’s estimated energy usage in one year).
All of the 669 rooms efficiently maximize small space, with retractable beds, a Techno Wall that functions as a shelving unit, desk, TV and stereo, and floor Galleys replacing in-room mini fridges (complete with free purified water). The pens and one-sheet Cabin Guides found in rooms are made from recycled paper, with text written in vegetable ink.
This post originally appeared on Drive the District